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HealtH & safety


Ri easy sk assessments


made


TheHealthandSafetyExecutiveprovidesasimple five-stepapproachtohelpyouassesshealthand safety risks inyourblock


All blocks of flAts areobliged by lawtocarryoutariskassessment of commonpartsunder theManaging Health&SafetyatWorkRegulations 1999.AccordingtotheHSE, “thelawdoes not expect youto eliminate all risk, but youare required to protectpeopleasfar as is ‘reasonably practicable’”. Theaimofarisk assessment isnot to causeendless streams ofpaperwork but toensure thatanyoneworkingonor aroundthecommonparts of your block cando so safely. It isaway of identifying what,ifanythingcouldcauseharmto peopleanddetailingwhat canbe done to prevent it.Itshouldbe simpleandstraightforward andmaynotneed to be produced byanexternal consultant if youlive ina small block.


Asaresult, theHSEhas producedaguidewhich youcandownload fromits websiteatwww.hse.gov.ukto


help youputariskassessmenttogether “withminimumfuss”.


TheHSErecommends thefollowing simple steps:


nIdentifythehazards


nDecidewhomight beharmedandhow nEvaluatetherisksanddecideon precaution


nRecord your findingsandimplement them


nReviewyour assessmentandupdateif necessary


If youareresponsible forasmall


blockandyouare confident that you understandwhat’s involved, youcando


RisksandhazaRds


Whenthinkingabout your risk assessment,thekeypoints to remember are:


nahazardisanythingthatmay causeharm,suchaschemicals, electricity,workingfrom ladders,anopendrawer, etc;and


nthe riskis the chance, high or low, thatsomebodycould beharmedbytheseandother hazards,togetherwithan indicationofhowseriousthe harmcouldbe.


60


sofa-beds, cushions,pillowsandcovers. Items whichcomplywillhave a suitable permanent label attached.Non-compliant itemsmustbemovedout


of thebuildingbefore a tenancybegins. sMokEAlARMsHaving an alarmis one thing –but is it inworkingorder?All properties built since June 1992must have beenfitted with a mainspoweredsmokedetectoralarmsystem. Although thereisnolegislation requiringsmoke alarmsto be fitted in tenanted properties built before that date,landlordsought to beawareof a common law‘duty of care’ rendering landlords andtheir agents liable,inthe eventthatafire causes injury or damage in atenantedproperty wheresmoke alarmsarenot fitted.Wewould always recommend that a landlord fits at least one smoke alarmon each floor – preferably in the hall and/or landing areas.


Let property If your property extends over three or more levels,and is lettofive or moretenants fromtwo or more families, there is more health and safety paperworktoconsiderasitwillbesubject to a mandatorylicensing assessmentfrom thelocal


HSE has produced a guidewhich you can download fromits website


theassessment yourself. Youdon’thave to beahealthandsafety expert.


First, download thehealth&safety


template.Thisbringstogetheryour risk assessment,healthandsafety policy,andrecord ofhealthandsafety arrangements into one document to help youget startedandsave time. If youalreadyhaveahealthandsafety policy, youcanchoose to usejust therisk assessmentpart of thetemplate.There areafewexamplesontheHSEwebsite that showyouwhatarisk assessment looks like so youcanchoose theone that looksmost relevant to your blockanduse it asaguide. If youareresponsible formanaging


alargeblockandyouarenot confident that youcanproducearisk assessment yourself, thereareplenty ofhealth& safety consultantswhocanhelp you.As ever, shop aroundandtake advice from otherswhomayhavebeendownthe sameroute. Talk to at leasttwoor three differentcompanies before appointing someoneto carryout your assessment onyour behalfandmake sure youcheck theirreferences. Formore informationonrisk


assessmentsandto download theleaflet FiveSteps to RiskAssessment, go towww. hse.gov.uk


couldleadtoincreased claimswhichinsurers arenot able to defend


authority.Whethermandatorylicensingunder theseguidelinesapplies or not, if thereare three or moretenants notall relatedinany property, thechances areitwillstill be treatedasaHouse inMultiple Occupancy(HMO),and special management rules will apply.


Insurance ImpLIcatIons Owners of residentialblockswhohavemade every efforttocomplywithall of theserequirements shouldmake this clearwhentakingout insurance. If a blockhas everythingin placeandhealthand safety is reviewed regularly,owners should tell insurers as this informationwillresultinthem gettingthemost competitivetermsavailable. It is fair to saythatthese goodmanagement practices should result in consistently lowclaims,enabling insurers tomaintaintheir best rates for clients. Ontheflipside,lackofhealthandsafety


procedures couldleadtoincreased claims,which insurers arenot able to defend, becauseofalackof documentedevidencewhich,inturn, couldresult in increasedpremiums. Themajorityofinsurance providersmakeit


clear these days to their policyholders that they must beaware of, and complywith, current legislation–includingthe ever-changinghealth andsafetylaws.This couldproduce situations wherepolicyconditions arebreached. It is vital, therefore, that policyholdersunderstandwhat their policies contain, andwhat their insurers expect of them.●


AnthonyHughesis a Director of Blockinsure tel 0845 390 3030 email info@blockinsure.com


Spring2012 Flat Living


lack of health and safety procedures


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